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Farmers, not govts, need Centre’s help

There is no doubt that due to rain-deficient monsoon, the farmers in Punjab need to use artificial irrigation, as mentioned in the editorial “Surviving a drought”, Aug 2) but this will hit the farmers hard. Most of the farmers have small or medium-sized landholdings and they can ill-afford the inflated power bill.

This year, rainfall was 65% less as compared to last year, till July. The farmers will have to shell out atleast Rs 850 crore for buying diesel, due to irregular and incessant power cuts; Rs 300 for deepening the tube wells; PSPCL will have to bear Rs 1,530 crore extra burden to buy power from other states.

Similar is the situation in Haryana. The Punjab state government has sought Rs 2, 380 crore as drought relief from the Centre, while the neighbouring state of Haryana has demanded atleast Rs 400 crore.

Extra power from the Central Power Pool has been sought to save the paddy crop as most of the peasants grow paddy in Punjab. The Centre promised to help the farmers of the state, but when the announcements were made, it was Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Karnataka, which have got financial relief from the Centre.

However, earlier in 2009 when the Centre had given Rs 800 crore to the state for distribution to farmers of Punjab, only Rs 150 crore was distributed to the farmers. It may be one of the reasons behind the Centre’s hesitation this time. However, why should the farmers suffer due to the mistakes committed by the government? It is ultimately the common man who bears the brunt.

Is the UPA government eyeing the coming Assembly elections in these states? The poor farmers will not be able to save their paddy crop in Punjab. They can be helped to grow alternative crops like pulses or oilseeds, as these crops do not need much irrigation. In this manner, the gap between demand and supply of pulses could be reduced.

The Centre should immediately grant relief to Punjab farmers so that they could get some impetus, though belatedly, and some sort of compensation to cultivate alternative crops.

Prof HS DIMPLE, Jagraon (Punjab)

Losing steam

The Anna movement is losing direction, and going astray. People are confused about the real aim of Anna’s movement, and repeated fasts. Rather than it being a crusade against corruption, it has turned into a confrontation against the Congress and its ministers.

The display of photographs of 15 ministers, with the PM on the top, at Jantar Mantar where Anna and his team sat for the fast is in bad taste. I had spent a day with Anna at Ramlila Maidan last year when I came back charged and motivated.  Nearly a year later, I again spent a day with him at Jantar Mantar. This time, I returned disappointed.

Anna and his team should stop bashing the government, demeaning political leaders and over-riding the democratic institutions. Anna cannot dictate terms to the Parliament which is the sole democratic authority to legislate.

However, in a democratic and peaceful manner, the team should continue pursuing and compelling the govt to pass an effective and practical Lokpal Bill (not a draconian law). The confrontationist attitude has to give way to reconciliation.

The movement has to move out from Jantar Mantar or Ramlila Maidan to each village, town, and house, as corruption starts from there. Anna’s movement is on for over a year, but we do not find any noticeable change in the bribe givers or takers. Why has the movement not made a difference to common people who are part of corruption? 

Col R D SINGH ( retd), Ambala Cantt

Developing emotional quotient

Parenting in India is such that undue expectations of the parents add to the stress on their children. Marks obtained in the examination (indicator of IQ) contributes a measly 10-20% to success in life, rest 80-90% is contributed by Emotional Quotient (EQ). Unfortunately our education system is such that both parents and teachers are worried about the IQ. EQ is not taught in the schools or colleges, it is learnt by experience.

There is a need to develop EQ of children so that social life skills are inculcated in them to cope up with stressful situations and to help them in decision making, time management and nurturing good relationships. Simultaneously, parents also need to build up their Spiritual Quotient (SQ) which will help them overcome stress.




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